Now spring is here, my thoughts have turned to dormice. While it’ll probably be a while yet before they emerge, it’s time to make sure everything is ready for them. I got my dormouse licence at the end of last year, so this is my first season with a site of my own.
In preparation for the annual box clean, I visited my site last week, to work out where it is, and check I can find the boxes. The site is part of an estate owned by the National Trust. There are 30 boxes up at the moment (most dormouse monitoring sites have 50), but there’s only been one box check so far, in early December last year, where several active dormice were found.
Apart from dormice, they also get several types of deer (including red deer), foxes, badgers and other woodland mammals. On my recce I saw a woodpecker. The wood is still wearing its winter mourning, so it’s hard to tell what it will be like once the plants begin to wake up again.
I am excited, but also a bit nervous about being responsible for a dormouse site. With it being a new site, I’m not sure what to expect. Will there be stinging nettles as tall as me in the summer? Will lots of bumblebees decide dormouse boxes are a great place to nest? Do they get yellow necked mice or just woodmice? Will I see an elusive red deer? What about bluebells and blue tits? I’m looking forward to finding out.